Revenue Operations

Why Marketing Needs a Number

Michael Lowe headshot

Michael Lowe
Director, Content Marketing, Clari



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Revenue generation is no longer just the responsibility of sales. In fact, a recent study by Forrester indicates that 82% of CMOs have signed up for a revenue target.

Sales teams with more opportunities achieve their quotas more consistently, according to research by Hubspot. And it’s marketing that drives the majority of the company’s top of funnel opportunities.

But how much pipeline does marketing need to generate? There are multiple factors that play into this, but primarily it depends on your historic conversion rates and the sales capacity you have across the different segments of your business. Those will determine the pipeline coverage needed for every rep, team and region to meet and exceed the number.

“Marketing needs to be on the pipeline call because they should be held accountable,” says Carl Eschenbach, Partner at Sequoia Capital and former President of VMware who took the company from $31m in revenue to $7b. “Quite frankly, I think all marketing leaders should have a quota. You should be compensated on top of funnel filling through marketing events and programs just like a sales rep is.”

So how can marketing teams make that happen? It starts with alignment with sales.

5 ways to align with sales on the pipeline

  1. Regular Check-ins. Understand what the top-line targets are regularly checking in with your sales counterparts on revenue goals not only for upcoming quarters, but also a few quarters out.
  2. Identify Friction. Get clarity on pipeline quality and ways to improve it. How is pipeline converting throughout the funnel? How can we remove friction to increase conversions?
  3. Attend the Pipeline Call. If your sales team has a pipeline call, sit in on it. If they don’t, encourage it or hold one yourself. Schedule regular meetings to check in on key goals.
  4. Review Out-Quarter Coverage. If you’re running low, create an action plan to close the gap so you can enter the quarter with the exact amount of pipeline needed.
  5. Predict Your Number. Leverage AI solutions to predict how much pipeline you need based on historic performance. You might know your current coverage, but is it enough to hit your target?

Case Study: Okta’s Forecasting and Pipeline Management Process

Okta established a rigorous forecasting and pipeline management process to support its aggressive growth plans and upcoming IPO. One element of the plan included a new meeting cadence, which included alternating forecast and pipeline weeks.

On pipeline weeks, anyone involved in demand generation were invited to attend, including regional sales leaders, marketing, SDRs, partners, etc… and the regional sales leader would discuss whether there was enough pipeline or not. If not, a plan would be created.

Read the full case study here.

The Last Mile of Marketing Attribution

Knowing your number is one thing. Tracking it is another. How can you tell if the campaigns you’re running are actually working, which contacts they’re influencing within a deal and how they’re impacting your number?

Peter Drucker, the business management thought leader, is famously credited with the quote “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” It’s true in business and it’s absolutely true for marketing campaigns and activities.

Visibility into which marketing campaigns and activities are most effective is critical to knowing where to double down and where to divest.

Often, new people get pulled into a deal late in the sales cycle — some of whom may have engaged with your marketing programs. Unfortunately, their contact information rarely makes it into CRM. Sales is so focused on closing the deal they don’t have time to manually enter that data. However, it’s critical in connecting the dots between marketing efforts and revenue. We call this the “last mile problem” of marketing attribution.

This is the missing link to accessing the entire picture of how your marketing campaigns influenced a deal.

Getting the Full Picture for Attribution

Clari processed nearly 300 million emails and 40 million meetings. Through our analysis, we found that on average 50-70% of the people your sales reps have email communication with or are meeting with do not exist as contacts in CRM.

To make matters worse, of the 30-50% of contacts that do get logged in CRM, only a small minority of those actually get associated with opportunities. This leaves you in the dark and guessing which campaigns touched key influencers in the buying group.

Clari’s Autocapture solves this problem by automatically capturing contacts from email and meetings and associates them to the right opportunities, giving you an effective way to understand which campaigns influenced won deals and what programs are moving the needle.

This, in turn, allows you to invest in the campaigns with the highest ROI.

Request a demo to learn more about Clari Autocapture.